Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Saw Ramallah

It's been over a week since I've posted. This last week was hectic and I didn't want to add blogging to the long list of to-dos. Last Monday (or was it Sunday?) we all got sick. In some ways it was nice that it happened all at once instead of dragging out for days or weeks but at the same time, it was difficult to take care of each other when we're all feeling down.

During my recovery days, I was able to finish up a book I've been reading through Interlibrary loan. I LOVE interlibrary loan! The fact that the bookmobile drives to our little town and brings us any book we request makes me so happy.

The book I read was on my massive reading list. While in college, I wrote down books and movies that my professors suggested I read or watch. One of my geography teachers suggested I read a book by Mourid Barghouti, who is a poet. The book is written in prose and it's absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed reading it because it wasn't an "I hate Israel" type of book but more of an "I'm a human being and this is how my life has gone" type of a book. He's a Palestinian who was in Cairo during the 6 day war between Palestine and Israel. He's not allowed back into his country for thirty years and has to travel around on temporary visas and passports. He's sort of countryless in way because he can't go back to Palestine and the rest of the world shuns him because of political controversies. He draws you into his world and culture and problems by using universal themes that everyone can understand and connect to. He also writes about tragedy and death in a respectful way and shows how much disrespect the world in general has for such things. It really is an amazing book.

There were several favorite parts but one thing I really liked was an image of a fig tree that he remembered as a child. It was planted in the courtyard of his families house and he referred back to it throughout the book. He spoke about how it would rain figs and he'd eat to his heart's content when he was young and when he was abroad he broke down and payed a dollar for fig from a grocer, because he was craving the taste of it again and he was embarrassed that he did that when he remembered that fig tree back home. It reminded me of the peach tree in my grandparent's backyard and how I use to pick the peaches with my family and we'd can them and for a week straight we could have peaches for breakfast with milk and a little sugar. The peach tree had to be cut down because it grew old and diseased. I really miss that tree.

If you're interested in the book, you can actually read the first chapter online from Mourid Barghouti's website.

One of my favorite parts in the first chapter:
I said once to a friend: "When Palestine is no longer a chain worn with an evening dress, an ornament or a memory or a golden Qur’an, when we walk on Palestinian dust, and wipe it off our shirt collars and off our shoes, hurrying to conduct our daily affairs—our passing, normal, boring affairs—when we grumble about the heat in Palestine and the dullness of staying there too long, then we will really have come close to it." 


Amoniel Lachnar said...

Beautiful, i will have to check him out. On another note, have you heard of Kahlil Gibran?

KarleighJae said...

I've known Gibran more for his drawings. I've never read any of his works. Would you recommend one? He's written so many, I don't even know where to start. :)

Amoniel Lachnar said...

You must read "the Prophet" :) I've only read about two of his books, but "the Prophet" is really, really good.
"The wanderer" is also good, it's a collection of short stories.
Both are really good reads, but if you need something to start with, I think I'd recommend "The wanderer", it's easier to read than "the Prophet".

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